It’s filler time as Fear the Walking Dead delivers the most boring episode of season five. “210 Words Per Minute” has Morgan (Lennie James), Dwight (Austin Amelio), and Grace (Karen David) searching for a survivor at a mall. Grace, who’s still listening to her audio book at double speed, decides to use the urgent care clinic’s x-ray machine. Dwight goes on a side mission with an unexpected encounter. Morgan and Grace test the boundaries of the friend zone.
“210 Words Per Minute” begins with a survivor reaching out on channel 4. Chuck has been bitten, but wants to help. He’s in a mall loaded with supplies and an urgent care clinic. He’ll probably have turned by “the time you arrive.” He’s wearing a red jacket and “will hole up in the security office.” Morgan, Grace, and Dwight reach the mall. Grace finds a bunch of candy she calls “candy beansies.” They find the security office and see one of their supply boxes, but Chuck isn’t there. He left an ipod with a note for Grace. Chuck loaded it for her. Grace’s blood sugar is low. She passes out as Morgan and Dwight see the mall is filled with walkers.
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Salazar (Ruben Blades) and Tess (Peggy Schott) are leading the convoy. He plays a blues song over the radio. At the mall, Grace wakes up in a bed. Morgan sweetly tells her that “candy beansies” are called “jelly beans.” Morgan wonders if she’s suffering from radiation sickness. Dwight returns with his walkie-talkie playing the blues. It’s a sign from Salazar. Logan and his people have hit another truck stop nearby. Dwight wants to get back to the convoy.
Morgan wants to raid the mall for supplies. He orders Dwight to get trucks from the convoy, and send the children north. Dwight gets them water, but is worried about Logan’s people. They want the oil fields. He tells Morgan he’s been on the other side, “You turn off your heart, your conscience.” Are they going to “live their lives looking over their soldiers?” Morgan reminds him to have faith in people, “We’re not doing careful, we’re doing right.” Dwight uses the radio and tells Daniel exactly where he’s heading.
Grace turns her “A Tale of Two Cities” audio book to double speed. She’s about to go down the escalator into the sea of walkers when Morgan stops her. Grace wants to use the x-ray machine at the urgent care clinic. She “needs to know.” They head for the mall’s generator. On the road, Dwight stops his truck and takes a leak. One of Logan’s men comes up behind him with a shotgun. Dwight admits he was hoping to be followed. Why else would he announce his location on an open channel. The man knocks him out.
At the mall, Morgan uses a remote control car to distract the walkers. Grace vanishes. She’s following a walker wearing red. The herd turns on her. Morgan catches up to her and they lock themselves in a supplements store. She thought the walker was Chuck, but it had been dead too long.
That night, Dwight wakes up in the back of a truck. The man was wondering why he had an unloaded gun. He’s loaded it up. Dwight wonders if he’s always been an “asshole.” The man strikes him, but Dwight is unfazed. Dwight won’t tell him anything, but warns what will happen when he gets free. The man locks him up.
At the store, Morgan makes a meal of nutrition shakes and health food bars. The walkers have gathered outside the barricaded glass. Grace listens to “A Tale of Two Cities” at 210 words per minute, the only way she can listen to the whole recording in a day. Grace reflects on a life “overthinking” everything. Morgan wonders if the ultrasound is bad, what can she do? Grace noticed Morgan smiling with the remote control car. She saw the tape about his family. She wants to help. The glass door starts to crack.
In the truck, the man comes back to Dwight. He admits he has no clue why Logan wants the gas. The man knows Dwight’s name. He’s seen the tape. The man opens Dwight’s bag and takes out Sherry’s letters. He starts to burn them. Dwight makes a move, but the man draws the gun. He turns to shoot a walker, then Dwight gets the drop on him. He knocks the man down and takes the gun.
At the mall, Morgan and Grace use the back corridor to escape. Morgans asks Grace to turn off her headlamp as he kills the walkers. Grace helps him when he falls down. They reach the generator and activate it. Morgan tells her how he bought his son an RC car. He continues how his wife and son made him smile. Grace replies that she “has no one.” The mall lights up. The escalators turn on. They reach the urgent care, but the gate is locked. When they try to pull it up, an alarm rings.
They race up the escalators with walkers behind them. Grace runs out of bullets. She reverses the escalator. At the security office, she uses the breakers to turn off the alarms. She finds the key for the urgent care. When they look on the security monitors, they see Chuck is alive on the roof.
At the truck, Dwight explains why his gun wasn’t loaded. He didn’t trust himself not to be an “asshole.” Dwight releases the man, “You can figure out someone else to be.” Morgan and Grace find the bitten Chuck on the roof. He had to escape the security office. Chuck wanted to see the stars one last time. The night is cloudy. Grace leaves and comes back with a toy that shines stars. Chuck is overjoyed.
The next morning, Morgan and Grace bury Chuck in front of the mall. They go back to the urgent care, but Grace has changed her mind. She doesn’t want to know anymore. “Chuck didn’t want to die in this mall,” neither does she. They decide to ride the carousel.
The convoy makes it to the mall with Dwight. Salazar was hoping for a cinnabun. Dwight tells them he let one of Logan’s guys go. Tess and the others load up supplies. Salazar finally gives Dwight a haircut and shave. Grace turns her audio book to regular speed. Morgan smiles at her fondly, but is caught by Salazar. When Grace fills up the car, Morgan tells her he’s not going with them. He’s decided to go help Al instead. Grace is disappointed as Morgan drives away. He looks at her sadly in the rear view mirror.
“210 Words Per Minute” was another lame filler episode where characters behaved foolishly and put themselves in ridiculous situations. Morgan’s constant state of lament has become torturous. Does anyone care if he sparks up a romance with the doomed Grace? “Candy beansies”, the dialogue between them was absolutely terrible. Fear the Walking Dead has just sunk season five into the garbage pile. Next week needs a spectacular comeback on AMC.
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